On this day when we recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his fight for justice and equality, I received an email from Sen. Steve Daines celebrating Religious Freedom Day.
Daines, along with 11 other right-wing senators, sponsored a resolution designating January 16 as Religious Freedom Day. This confuses me as January 16, while not an official federal holiday, has been observed as National Religious Freedom Day by presidential proclamation since 1993.
There is no mention of Dr. King today from Daines in any of his news feeds, email messages or Facebook posts, but he did take the opportunity to show his religious bone fides by offering up a (fortunately) toothless resolution.
(UPDATE: Daines did make a brief mention of MLK on his Twitter feed along with a photo of Trump literally hugging the American Flag. I kid you not.)
And it should also be noted that during the presidential proclamation last week, Trump pushed for allowing prayer in public schools and making federal education grants accessible to private, religious schools.
“This afternoon we’re proudly announcing historic steps to protect the First Amendment right to pray in public schools. … There’s nothing more important than that, I would say,” President Donald Trump said Thursday alongside administration officials, religious representatives, students and teacher advocates.
Trump claimed that “there’s a growing totalitarian impulse on the far left that seeks to punish, restrict and even prohibit religious expression.” He called the new guidance “the right to pray.”
He added, “While I’m President … we will not let anyone push God from the public square. We will uphold religious liberty for all.”
Since 1962, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
That doesn’t stop Daines from supporting Trump at every turn, particularly when it concerns evangelical proclamations or tweeting racist comments targeting four members of Congress, two of whom are Muslim women. How’s that for religious tolerance?
While I’m not aware of any attacks on our country’s mainstream or evangelical religions, Daines seems to think that they’re in great jeopardy as his email subject line suggests he’s “Leading the Fight for Religious Freedom.”
Daines’ email closes with this little survey:
Tough question, Sen. Daines, but we certainly appreciate your fear mongering and pandering to your base instead of honoring the memory of Dr. King.